This time of year, as we shift into winter, the Board takes time for reflection and give thanks. We could not be more grateful to you, our community, who provide support in so many ways. We have had a busy summer and fall as we continue to navigate leadership changes and execute a plan the Board put in place in June to strengthen the organization. We have made great progress in the last six months to increase our business acumen and fundraising, but we aren’t where we need to be financially. When an organization has been running from event to event for funding like the Healing Center has, it takes a while to shift out of that grind and broaden to other funding sources to become sustainable. I like looking to history as a guide and to ensure we stay true to our mission and that we keep growing and learning. I looked through our newsletter archives and found the winter newsletter from 2008. Here is a snippet from our founder, Kath McCormack:
“Two years ago, we were just settling into our new home in the Ravenna district of Seattle. We were so thrilled to finally have a central location; a place where all our programs could be under one roof… It is amazing how far we have come in the last two years. About two hundred people a month come through our doors to receive comfort, support and the companionship of others who are trying to navigate the stormy sea of grief. We really are a community; a safe harbor. I would have given anything to have a place like this when my family and I were looking for support.”
Since January 2017, we have had over 350 group participants, almost every night of the week. That’s over 220 adults, 60 young adults, and 70 kids, many who come week to week for support.
I want to thank all of you who have helped to make this safe place possible: our donors, our volunteers, our dedicated staff and interns. Most of all I want to thank those of you who are grieving and who have trusted us to help ease your load. You are the reason we are here.
If you can this holiday season, please think about The Healing Center and the support you received. Please make a donation to give the gift of comfort, hope and healing to an adult or children grieving the death of a loved one.
A client shared many years ago: “Thank you [Healing Center] for wrapping your arms around us and standing quietly by our sides as we travel through this very unpredictable and painful journey of grief. The calmness and understanding that you show renews my faith, hope and trust that as I continue this journey I am the only one that can design my life as I need it to be. Thank you for this wonderful place of healing and forever friends!”
On behalf of the Board and Staff, have Happy Holiday and Happy New Year!
Interim Board President
Holiday Office Closures
The Healing Center office will be closed from December 22nd through January 2nd for the holidays. All groups during this time will be cancelled. Please refer to our Google calendar for a more detailed view on the cancellations.
Please feel free to reach out to the office with any questions or concerns. If you have an emergency during this time, call 911 or the 24 hour crisis line at 206-461-3222.
Jill Deckman Cooper
At Oktoberfest this year, Jill Deckman Cooper shared her story about the The Healing Center:
“At first it was a safe haven to grieve our loss, then it became a place where powerful connections were formed, after that it became a mirror that reflected how far we’ve come, and now it is like an old friend that I can call on whenever we are in need. I’m forever grateful for The Healing Center for helping us through the most difficult time in our lives.”
~Jill D. Cooper, widow of John H. Cooper who died on May 14, 2014 and mom of Dylan and Lila Cooper
Julie Plaut Warwick
Julie has been volunteering with the Healing Center since Winter 2013. In one of her first experiences with the Healing Center, she participated in the May Walk, which that year coincided with World Laughter Day. Julie still remembers how amazing it was to see people who were reflective and thinking about their loved ones who had died break into laughter one by one. The following month, Julie became certified as a laughter yoga leader and began to incorporate it into programs at the Healing Center.
Julie interned at the Healing Center from 2013-2014 and helped facilitate all children’s’ groups. In September of 2014 she graduated with a degree in Counseling from Antioch and traveled to India to get certified as a laughter yoga teacher by Madan Kataria, the founder of Laughter yoga. She has been a facilitator for the Littles Group and Healing Club 1-2-3 ever since.
Along with using her skills as a therapist, Julie is now traveling around the world as an inspirational speaker who provides keynote speeches, training and workshops. You can visit her webpage (www.connectingthepeaces.com) for a listing of her workshops and to find out more about laughter yoga.
Although we miss Julie during her travels, we are grateful for her many years of service with The Healing Center.
Our annual holiday party and potluck was held on December 5th. The holidays can be a difficult time after the death of the loved one. This event was a chance for the Healing Center community to get together and celebrate the holidays in a safe and supportive environment. In addition to a delicious potluck, the children were paid a visit from Santa and received many gifts.
A big thank you to Toy’s for Kids, Rick Rizzs and Resa Moore for spreading holiday magic and providing toys for the children in our programs. The holidays can be stressful and overwhelming, but seeing the gratitude and excitement in the kids faces started off the holiday season with a ray of positive light.
Surviving the Holidays
The holidays can be a stressful time when you have experience the death of a loved one. The article Finding Light in the Darkness: Grieving Through The Holidays can hopefully give some insight on how to take care of yourself and honor your loved one during this time of year.